Luwi Bush Camp
South Luangwa National Park, Luangwa Valley, Zambia
At a Glance
Spend time in the hippo hide overlooking the Luwi Lagoon - fantastic photographic opportunities guaranteed
Walk across the Luwi Plain to the tamarind orchard - shy bushbuck can often be spotted here
Enjoy Luwi's beautiful honeymoon suite with the cleverly designed front wall that opens entirely
Say hello to the Luwi Boys - a coalition of elephant bulls who have made the Luwi area their home
Enjoy delicious meals under the stars and relax around the camp fire as the sounds of the bush serenade you
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Luwi Bush camp is open from - 01 June to 31 October.
Zambia has a moderate to sub-tropical climate with three distinct seasons: from November to March is the Emerald, or the rainy season, April to July is Zambia's winter, when the weather is cool and dry, and August to October is summer, when the weather is hot and dry. In terms of game-viewing, the drier months, meaning a higher concentration of game at the permanent water sources, are a superb time to visit. Alternatively come for some superb bird-watching at the end of the rains.
Call us on to start planning your vacation to Luwi Bush Camp or take a look at our itineraries to Luangwa Valley
Luwi Bush Camp is located deep in the South Luangwa National Park, overlooking the Luwi sand river and next to a permanent lagoon, in a tree-island. Primarily a walking camp, the game in this area is diverse and prolific.
Luwi Bush Camp is the remotest bush camp in the Norman Carr Safaris family, and is reached by a two and a half hour game drive transfer through some of the park's remotest areas.
Luwi Bush Camp has just four reed and thatch chalets, each individually designed to blend in with the surroundings. Two of the chalets have enclosed bathrooms, and the third and fourth, the honeymoon suite, have bathrooms open to the air. The honeymoon suite has a novel design, with the whole front wall attached by hinges, so the front of the chalet can be fully swung open, like a door, which creates a secluded deck area where private dinners can be served. Each chalet nestles under the shade of towering mahogany, sausage and wild oleander trees, which form a lush oasis in the middle of the Luwi plains.
In the center of the camp there is a simple main bar area, and the dining table is set outside under the stars. There is also a hammock tree, a small library (containing a selection of reference books and several written by Norman Carr himself) and, towards the front of the camp and overlooking the Luwi Plain, a selection of comfortable chairs surrounding a fire pit. Around the fire is where guests will meet in the mornings before heading out on a walk.
A mere five minutes walk from camp you will find the two permanent Luwi lagoons - teeming with hippos and crocodiles, and attracting a good variety of game, particularly in the drier months of the season. Here there is a hippo hide - built into the riverbank, and looking down on the lagoon, this is a perfect spot for keen photographers to get some lovely shots, not only of the hippos and crocodiles, but of the prolific birdlife around the lagoon. Often, families of elephant will come down to drink and bathe in the water.
The activities at Luwi focus mainly on walking safaris into the pristine area surrounding the camp, and generally finishing at the lagoon for some hippo viewing. There is an option to drive occasionally, but the roads in this area are few, and the area lends itself perfectly to walking and exploration.
Luwi combines perfectly with its sister camps - Nsolo, which is also on the Luwi sand river, Kakuli, which is on the confluence of the Luwi and the main Luangwa River, and Mchenja, which is on a sweeping bend of the Luangwa, sheltered in a towering grove of ebony trees.
Luwi Bush Camp has four thatched chalets, all of which are en-suite. Two chalets have enclosed bathrooms and two have bathrooms which are open to the skies. There is a honeymoon chalet which has an enclosed and private deck to give newly weds ultimate privacy.
Children under the age of twelve are not accepted at Luwi Bush Camp, as this is the minimum age for walking. Children aged twelve to sixteen are able to walk if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. As the camp is in a wildlife-dense area, children are asked to be with an adult at all times.
In the center of the camp there is a simple main bar area, and the dining table is set outside under the stars. There is also a hammock tree, a small library, containing a selection of reference books (several written by Norman Carr himself) where you can learn about the local culture and, land and animals.
Due to the remoteness of Luwi Bush Camp, there are very few roads nearby and so the activities from here focuses primarily on walking safaris. There is also a hippo hide overlooking the lagoon which is source of great entertainment as guests watch and listen to the snorting, sometimes fighting, hippos just meters away.
Mrs Rosemary Bates (Guest)
Lawrence was an amazing guide. Felt very well looked after and all the staff remembered me which felt very special. Walking was incredible. Whole camp was stunning.
Louisa Verney (Staff)
Luwi is a small bush camp also in the north eastern side of the South Luangwa National park, with just four simple reed and thatched cottages, with outside bathrooms. The area around Luwi is known for its great walking safaris (there are very few game drive roads in the area). Days are spent exploring the area with your excellent guide who will be able to read the tracks and spoor on the ground as you or I Would read a newspaper. Evenings are spent whiling away the hours round the camp fire quality testing gin and tonics followed by dinner under the stars.
Anna Devereux Baker (Staff)
The Luwi Riverbed sleepout is an amazing experience, a real exploration, and one I'd recommend to anyone who has an adventurous streak. Setting out from your bushcamp, you walk through the bush to "the Big Corner" - a sweeping bend of the Luwi dry sand river overlooked by an enormous msikizi (mahogany) tree. Here your camp is set up and firewood is gathered and set into several fires around the perimeter. There is nothing as exhilarating as spending the night out in the African bush! During the course of the night, as the scout patrolled the camp and stoked the fire, we heard the shrill communication calls of hyena, the gentle rumbles of elephant, the staccato pip pips of the fruit bats, and then, as the dawn just lightened the corner of the sky, the lions started calling. There can be nothing more awe-inspiring than hearing this immense call reverberating through the dawn light! As the bush began to wake and an orange glow spread across the horizon, we sipped hot, strong coffee from enamel mugs before setting out to the next camp.
Anna Devereux Baker (Staff)
The camp I used to run! Blissful. Reached by a fairly long game drive into the park and then off onto a track which will take you through some interesting (but slightly tsetse-ish) country. Hence your guide will probably drive through relatively quickly. By the time you reach the cross roads and turn left the tsetses will all but have gone.
Luwi Camp is very special, and the remotest of the Norman Carr Safaris bushcamps - it's a simple camp situated in a tree island with four chalets and a bar area under thatch with a small library. This year it's run by Brian, a longstanding Kapani guide and really super chap. Luwi overlooks a plain and to the left of camp is the Luwi Lagoon - gorgeous for sundowners and with a huge population of hippo and crocodile. There is a coalition of elephant bulls which have made the Luwi area their home - when I was there, there were eleven of them, and last time we visited (June last year), to my utter joy, Dionysus and Occuloides (the head honchos) came for a visit. They say elephants never forget, and it was a wonderful sight to see their baggy-trousered shapes appearing out of the undergrowth. All the group are enormous bulls in their prime although Dionysus is a really old boy now - probably over fifty years old. At night they come through camp along with hippos, and I'm sure that Luwi still has its resident hyena and possibly honey badger as well.
Each of the rooms at Luwi is a bit different - and they are built differently every year. The honeymoon room (at the end) is cleverly designed, with the whole front on castors, so it swings forward like a big door, and makes the patio private. Two rooms have open air bathrooms, and two have enclosed bathrooms. Do pop through and have a look at the back of camp as well, it's really interesting to see the bush kitchen and meet everyone! If you have time for a walk, then directly opposite camp (on the far side of the sand river) is an enormous ebony. Behind this is a tamarind orchard, and it's a really pretty area. Walks can head out in that direction and then swing round to finish up at the lagoon, depending on how much time you have (and how many elephant detours you have to make!)
Game Drives in the South Luangwa
Game drives are the most common way of exploring the African bush. A vehicle allows you to cover distance quickly and comfortably and offers visitors the best opportunity of getting very close to wildlife in a safe and controlled way.
Green Season Game Drives
The Green Season, Rainy Season, Emerald Season, Secret Season - what ever you decide to call it, this is a beautiful time of year to be on safari. Activities are rarely disrupted by weather and the bush is full of life.
If you get the opportunity to head out after sunset you should take it. The bush transforms under the cover of darkness as the nocturnal wildlife gets going. Using a spotlight your guide will scan the bush for eye-shine picking out some great action.
Private photographic guide South Luangwa
Spend a day (or more) in the company of a professional wildlife photographer to hone your skills and make sure you take back some fantastic photos of your safari in the South Luangwa.
Authentic Zambia and Malawi
South Luangwa & Lake Malawi
from $8900 pp 9 nights
- Fantastic itinerary combining wonderful game-viewing with pristine beach
- Suited to couples and adventurous families alike, ideal for children aged 8 and over
- Enjoy a sunset dhow cruise on Lake Malawi or explore the island on quad bikes
Location & directions
South Luangwa National Park, Luangwa Valley, Zambia
Luwi stands in a small grove of mahogany and sausage trees, near the Luwi river, a dry sand bed throughout most of the year, in the South Luangwa game reserve.
How to get there
10-hour international flight to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Lusaka. After a 70-minute flight from Lusaka, you arrive at Mfuwe Airport where you are met for a game drive transfer to camp, through South Luangwa National Park which takes approximately 2 hours.